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When to stop mowing your lawn

Grassclippings - Stop MowingThe frequency of mowing your lawn would have slowed down now which is handy as it has been growing like wild fire all year and trying to find a dryish day on which to mow it has been the challenge. 

Grass does not actually stop growing even when it is really cold, it simply slows down.  There question of when you should stop mowing the grass is more a question of the prevailing weather and ground conditions which quite often prevent you getting onto the lawn when you have the ideal opportunity to perform the mowing function.

There is an Old Wives' Tale about when to stop mowing your lawn in the autumn months.  I think it is actually an Old Granddad's Tale as an excuse to put the mower away in the shed and get the slippers and pipe out in front of the fire with the feeling that the mowing function had been completed for that year!  

Factors restricting lawn mowing in the autumn and early winter months could be -

  1. Ground Frost and Snow
  2. Water Logging
  3. Earth Worm Casts
  4. Rain
  5. Reduced Daylight Hours
  6. Temperature
  7. A Heavy Mower

The lawn's growth pattern will naturally slow as soil and air temperatures reduce.  If the air temperature is above 5 degrees centigrade the grass will keep growing.  Reflective heat from building and localised sheltered micro climates will aid growth.  I recall being asked to go into work in between the Christmas and New Year Holiday period to mow rugby pitches down so as to prepare the surface for hockey pitches, we were literally harvesting the grass growth off the pitches and removing it as it was so mild and growing like crazy. 

As we get into the autumn months the frequency of mowing will reduce from twice a week or more normally once a week only to once every 10 days then down to once a fortnight and finally down to once a month in the months of November and December and January.  The aim is to literally take the 'top' off, so no more than 25% of grass growth.  This will keep the lawn tidy and help in the removal of leaf litter and debris.  I always think that mowing the lawn if you are able to a few weeks ahead of Christmas keeps the garden looking tidy ahead of the festive season.

The act of Controlling Worm Casts in Your Lawn goes a long way in ensuring that you can continue mowing the lawn later in the year.   The worms are just great of the soil but their natural pesky worm casts on the surface of the lawn can be troublesome for many.

So to conclude, keep mowing the lawn throughout the autumn and winter months on a little and often basis choosing a nice dry windy day, even if it is once a month in the deepest winter.  Somewhere in the winter months, plan to get the mower fully serviced including a new grass blade!

An interesting fact is - a one degree centigrade increase in temperature will double the metabolic growth rate of grasses so if it is really mild and typically 5 degrees centigrade, the grass will continue to grow and will need mowing.

Remember to keep off the lawn if it has been frosty otherwise you will break the tips off the grass blades, resulting in footprints in the lawn once the frost has worn off.  Tell the Postman too as they are always keen to take the shortest route to your front door!

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